Newsletter – April 2023

From the CEO

For the last two years, CLSB’s diversity surveys have focused on how specific issues affect Costs Lawyers. In 2021 we asked about the difference in pay and earnings between men and women. In 2022, we asked about Costs Lawyers’ socio-economic backgrounds to measure the extent of social mobility offered by the profession. We found that:

  1. There seems to be a significant gender pay gap amongst Costs Lawyers, with men being paid up to 17% more than women.
  2. The Costs Lawyer profession may not provide the opportunities for social mobility that have historically been assumed.

Our 2021 survey was the first time the CLSB had looked in detail at the differences between female and male Costs Lawyers. On the face of it, the survey data showed a substantial pay gap between these groups. We found that female Costs Lawyers earn less than male Costs Lawyers overall, with the average pay gap for women working full time differing by region: 17% in London, 15% in the North West, 9% in the South East and 9% in Yorkshire and Humber.

In addition, in 2021:

  • Female Costs Lawyers were less likely to be the owner of a business employing other people, with 7% of female Costs Lawyers describing themselves this way compared to 18% of male Costs Lawyers.
  • Female Costs Lawyers were more likely than male Costs Lawyers to experience a significant sudden reduction in earnings, often due to maternity leave, but also sick leave or compassionate/carer leave.
  • Female Costs Lawyers were less likely than male Costs Lawyers to work in London and the South East, where salaries tend to be higher (40% for men compared to 21% for women).
    Whilst we appreciate there may be systemic issues outside of our control that could be causing these differences, as well as a direct impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, it is important for us to explore these differences further.

Our 2022 survey asked about social mobility, with the aim of exploring the extent to which the Costs Lawyer profession offers a route into law for those from socially diverse backgrounds. The survey found that there is, to some degree, greater social mobility amongst Costs Lawyers than other parts of the legal sector, particularly solicitors. However, it also found that the proportion of Costs Lawyers with a “professional” socio-economic background is significantly higher than the general population (47% compared to 37%), suggesting that overall the Costs Lawyer profession is not promoting social mobility as much as it could be. The survey also revealed that social mobility in the profession seems to be decreasing over time.

We will be working with colleagues at ACL, and with others in the sector, to address the issues raised by these two surveys over the coming months. If you’re interested in getting involved or have ideas you would like to share, please contact us.

Kate Wellington


Regulatory News

Back to newsletters